State and local law enforcement officials today launched a campaign to make potential straw gun purchasers think twice before buying a firearm on behalf of a felon.
The program, known as "Think Again: Gun Violence and Straw Purchasing," aims to educate the community on the dangers of gun violence and the effects of straw purchasing.
"When you purchase a gun for a criminal and that gun is used to kill someone, it is as if you pulled the trigger yourself," said Attorney General Tom Corbett, who launched the campaign with Philadelphia District Attorney Lynne M. Abraham and Philadelphia Police Chief Inspector Jose M. Melendez.
In an attempt to goad the consciousness of potential straw gun buyers, the campaign includes a 13-minute video featuring law enforcement officials, emergency-room personnel, and families of gunshot victims. They graphically describe the effects of gun violence, as well as the criminal consequences of buying a gun for somebody who is not legally allowed to possess a firearm.
"Our message today is simple," said Corbett. "If you are asked to buy a gun for someone, think again."
The release of the video had political aims as well. The state legislature is considering renewing the $5 million annual funding for the Gun Violence Task Force, a coalition of investigators and prosecutors who specialize in gun-law enforcement.
To underscore the work of the task force, Abraham today announced the arrests of 13 people charged with illegal transfer of firearms, including five straw buyers, some of whom allegedly bought dozens of firearms and then sold them illegally on the street.
The video, produced by state employees, is available from the Attorney General's Education and Outreach Unit at 1-800-525-7642 or by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.